Your name is Reginald Martinez, but everyone calls you Reggie. You are 14 years old and live in Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic. Located in the central Caribbean, the Dominican Republic occupies two-thirds of the island of Hispaniola, which it shares with Haiti, the poorest country in the Americas. You have one older brother, three younger brothers, and two younger sisters. Your father works for the Police Department in Santo Domingo. You are very proud of him. A lot of the people in your city have very little, but your father’s important job provides enough money to allow you and your siblings to attend a private school and live in a nice house. Your mother has not been feeling well lately and has just been diagnosed as HIV+. The doctor tells her that she must get your father tested too, but he is not feeling badly and refuses. Your mother begins to feel better with the help of medication, and you are all hopeful that this will continue.
One day, upon returning home from school, you are confronted by your mother who is panicked and hysterical. She tells you that your father has been shot and killed responding to a robbery.
Over the course of the next few months, without a steady income, your family runs low on money. Soon, you will be forced to move out of your house. Your mother looks for ways to support the family. She barely scrapes enough together to feed the family by selling sugar and soap and doing other people’s laundry. You and your older brother are forced to look for work in order to help out. Working does not leave much time for school, not that it matters much. Without your father’s income, your family won’t be able to afford your private school next year anyway.
Things get pretty desperate as time goes on. You aren’t making much money working, but it is a little. But you also know that if you weren’t around the house, there would be more room and food for everyone else. You are not sure what you should do.
To stay at home and continue to work and care for the family along with your older brother and mother, click HERE.
To leave home in the hope that you will somehow find a better existence and that your absence will make it better for your family, click HERE.